Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy 2015!

Wishing a very Happy New Year to all! Can't wait to see what's on the other side....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas wrap-up

We're still enjoying the Christmas afterglow here on the fifth day...packages still arriving (no golden rings yet), tree still twinkling, goodies of various kinds still hanging around....

Here's a picture of quite possibly my least favorite Christmas tradition; it triggers my perfectionist crazy because I know I don't have the ability or the patience to make it look like the picture on the box, but I endeavor to keep my stress and irritability under control because doing it makes Miss B so happy. Also, I'm glad I got a picture of it the day we made it because, after assembling with ease for once, it spontaneously fell apart two days after Christmas. Next year Miss B wants to skip the kit and do it from scratch; I can't decide if that will be better or worse.

More Christmas goodies; I made a large batch each of these cut-out sugar cookies and chocolava cookies, and packaged some up to share with my weekly coffee group's last meeting of the year. I discovered this year, with multiple recipes, that most doughs do not behave as advertised when temperatures creep up to the 30C/90F mark, and consequently spent a lot of time whisking dough-laden cookie sheets in and out of the refrigerator.

More flower arranging! All the red stuff is from the farmers' market (roses and another flower called strawberry something or other?) and all the other stuff is from the back garden - I'm really getting into this....

...and the best part about making your own flower arrangements is that there's usually some overflow for another bouquet!

I got the idea of writing up and posting the holiday meal menu from another blogger; it received favorable comment from this year's Christmas lunch attendees, and will make a nice keepsake and a useful reminder for next year.

And, last but not least - complying with Miss B's request, motivated by general holiday (Christmas and school) giddiness to "put a picture of me and my babies on your blog!". Ta da!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas! It's coming to an end here in Australia, and we're full up on goodies....

We started off with cinnamon rolls for breakfast - rapidly becoming a tradition with their second appearance...

...alongside a much older tradition, my mother's Italian Christmas doughnuts.

The finale to Christmas lunch was my first-ever attempt at a traditional bûche de Noël; I made an all-chocolate version, decorated with meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries, and rosemary sprigs.

And some sweet things out to finish off the meal and the day: Hershey's Kisses, sugared cranberries, chocolate-almond saltine toffee, and more meringues.

Hope your day is as full of good things as ours has been!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Recipe shenanigans

Holiday baking is underway, in preparation for gift-giving, parties, etc. Every year I debate whether I should just stick with what I know, or branch out and try something new. This year I went with a compromise: something new, but from a recipe source I trust implicitly: Bruce and Mark. I've had my eye on these jam roll cookies ever since they were posted this time last year, and yesterday I decided to try them out with homemade cranberry jam and pecans.

The verdict: they tasted great, but they didn't look anything like jam rolls - more like giant jam blobs. I don't know if I let the dough get too warm, or did something else wrong, but visually they were not at all what I was expecting. I will say again, though, that they tasted great.

I still had half the dough in the fridge, having run out of time to make the second roll. Today, on the hunt for something to make for our street's holiday party, I decided to turn the dough into thumbprint cookies, filled with cranberry jam (no nuts - better for the kid portion of the party) or Hershey kisses. These were much easier to assemble, and came out of the oven still looking like thumbprint cookies.

And while those were baking, I decided to mess with another recipe, too: I whipped up a batch of Emergency Scones, swapped in sour cream for some of the heavy cream, threw in big handfuls of chopped bacon and grated gouda, and baked up some savory mini scones. (Also good, although next time I'll add a big pinch of cayenne or mustard powder for a little extra punch.)

What to make next? I'm deliberating between sugar cookies and Russian tea cakes at the moment. Teacher presents up this week....  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In My Kitchen, 12/14

My blogging pal Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has been hosting a monthly series called In My Kitchen that I've been enjoying for years - but, despite my best intentions, have never managed to join until now. If you head over to her blog, you can see the full list of this month's participants, and take a peek into kitchens around the world.

Here's a sample of some recent happenings in my kitchen:

My favorite concoction from this year's Thanksgiving leftovers - a sort of rustic pot pie, with leftover chopped turkey and vegetables underneath, in a sauce mixed up from leftover gravy and stock, topped with a leftover bread stuffing crust. Definitely a keeper for next year.

After years of paying attention to little besides the food in the kitchen, my Thanksgiving decoration efforts have given me a newfound interest in flower arranging - especially when it provides some scope for creativity and frugality. I bought two bunches of gerbera daisies at the farmers' market this weekend for $10, and made them into an arrangement using cuttings from my garden - including from my giant mint and rosemary bushes (back to the food again).
 Also from this weekend's farmers' market haul: the first stone fruits of the season. I'm already looking forward to my first batch of nectarine-lime jam (a variation on this peach-lime jam).
We haven't started Christmas decorating in earnest yet, but one thing always comes out on December 1 - Miss B's advent calendar, handmade by her grandmother to replace the one DP and his siblings grew up with. One of our favorite family traditions.

And even without the decorations, it's beginning to look a lot like that time of year, as preparations and supplies for Christmas baking and giving start to pile up.
For cooking inspiration, there's the mother of all Christmas cookbooks within easy reach....

...and, to balance out my northern inclinations toward wintery Christmas food, the December issue of delicious., to provide some ideas that will likely be more suitable to the temperature of Christmas Day in Canberra!

What's in your kitchen this month?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Music Monday

A little something to spruce up your (and my) Monday:

"Jackie Wilson Said", Van Morrison
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...